VENUS - A Cyberpunk Film
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
What happens when a grieving mother uploads the
consciousness of her tragically killed daughter, Iris, into a stolen synthetic
That is the core plot of the exciting and challenging new
short cyberpunk film VENUS. When Iris is torn out of her idyllic digital afterlife
and on the run in an oppressive futuristic city, she has to confront her
body's objectification and its violent capabilities, as well as the
consequences of her mother's actions.
Andrew McGee’s VENUS is a short live-action science-fiction film inspired by cyberpunk classics like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, and more broadly, films such as Ex Machina, Under the Skin, and Cam. It stars Margaret Clunie (Victoria, Last Christmas) in the lead role and is made by an obviously passionate and skilled team led by McGee. Where 'Cyberpunk' excels is in blending lowlife and high tech, depicting futuristic urban dystopias in which advancements in technology raise questions about cybernetically enhanced bodies and so much more. Concepts such as the implications of digital worlds, and what it means to be human, all against a backdrop of social upheaval and extreme inequality – this is a head trip you’ll want to take.
I asked the makers for their thinking and they said:
“It seems like an obvious genre through which to also explore crucial modern-day issues of sexism, sexuality, and objectification. Yet it's rare to see these worlds from the perspective of a female protagonist while also engaging with these issues. VENUS intends to do just that, as well as embracing the action, excitement and compelling visuals of the genre. The story is about the relationship between Iris and her insurgent mother, who goes to desperate lengths to bring her dead daughter back to life; as a result, Iris is thrown into a hostile world in an unfamiliar body designed for sex and violence. The film is a progressive representation of gender and identity in the most progressive of genres. The intention is to create a thrilling and thought-provoking short film with a real-world importance.”
I really enjoyed this short burst of neon-lit adventure and am delighted to report that it is in being considered as a proof of concept to launch a full-length feature film. The run time encompasses action, excitement, and the compelling visuals of the genre, while sensitively exploring themes of identity, gender, and objectification from a unique perspective. The script was also a ScreenCraft finalist, one of the biggest international screenwriting competitions.
Director McGee explained his inspiration:
“I’ve always been creative, writing stories as a child and
drawing comics about my dog, which I look back on as storyboards. I wanted to
pursue acting as a teenager, but eventually felt more comfortable behind a
camera. I love the collaborative process of bringing so many different artists
together, from actors to composers to set designers.”
When you get chance – seek this film out and plugin at your
first availability. Why not throw some backing into the kickstarter and become
part of this subgenre of science-fiction in which advancements in technology
raise questions about artificial intelligence, body modification, corporate
power and resistance, and what it means to be human…
(5 - The future isn't what it used to be...)
Highly recommended – makes a super accompaniment to my short cyberpunk story in the new Neo Cyberpunk anthology!?